(This a shot of the beach and the Esplanade buildings beyond the sea-wall at St Clair, Dunedin.)
I've always had a fear of tidal waves, or tsunamis. I like to be within earshot of the ocean, but far enough away - or high enough above - to be safe from the threat for myself and my family and home of being washed away by a sudden gulp from the sea.
The ocean is a huge mass of water. As it lashes at the land's borders, it appears to be desperate to 'come aboard'. Because I am constantly aware of this aspect, even though I love the ocean, I never lose a slightly uneasy feeling - call it a healthy respect - as I walk beside it. Especially the part of the coast where I live, with breakers and rollers that heave themselves with considerable force against the cliffs and rocks and into the bays.
Today I met a friend for coffee at a cafe I call the Saltwater Cafe, even tho' that's not its official name. It's situated right by the sea. Because there was no room inside, we sat at a table outside, huddled into our coats. The day had cooled down and there was a sharp, cold wind. As we talked, we watched the sparks of the late afternoon light dim and then leave the water's surface.
We could see wet-suited surfers and body-boarders and farther along some kayakers, all parrying with high-tide waves that relentlessly pushed towards shore.
The rush of the waves punctuated our conversation with an amused hiss and the rhythm and sway of the waves became quite hypnotic.
Today the wind was an off-shore wind with the waves pushing against the wind and the resulting force forming the large breakers surfers live to employ. The waves in this sort of mood, rear up, and become wild things roaring on to the sand with streaming manes of snow-white hair.
At home, the wind clawed at the clothes on the line, turning the sheets and pillow-cases into spinnakers. Sails are on my mind right now, thanks to the tv broadcasts from Valencia, Spain, with shots of New Zealand's yacht slicing with ease through the water as it competes in the Louis Vuitton Cup.
The strong wind was making our wind-vane, Trev the Kiwi farmer, work really hard turning the propellers to crank up the tractor's engine.
And he was feeling mighty grumpy about it too.
I looked up and saw seagulls enjoying the ride in the wind. Surfers, yachties and seagulls; they all love the wind.
That was yesterday. Today calm has been restored.
The plants are resting up after yesterday's day-long waltz in the wind. Trev is also enjoying a rest.
And I was thrilled to hear a tui.
It made a fleeting visit to the kowhai tree outside our deck at lunch-time today. He was very vocal and clacked and croaked a song interspersed with perfect chimes. The bellbird and the tui have very similar songs, but that's because the tui is a mimic and steals the bellbird's song.